Dec 8, 2004

DIKW and its origins



KM practitioners might be interested in the origin of the Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom (DIKW) hierarchy...commonly known as "Knowledge Hierarchy"

Well, Nikhil Sharma says that the origin might well be decades even before we thought.


Interestingly the first ever mention of the hierarchy came from neither
the KM field, nor the Information Science domain, but in poetry. In his Futurist
article, Cleveland cites T.S. Eliot as the person who suggested the hierarchy in
the first place- calling it "the T.S. Eliot hierarchy". The poet T.S. Eliot was
the first to mention the "information hierarchy" without even calling it by that
name. In 1934 Eliot wrote in "The Rock"[3]:
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
This is the first vague mention of the hierarchy that was expanded by Cleveland, and later by others to add a layer of "Data".